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Prism Fission

Prism Fission

9 September 2017

CreativePact (32 posts)

In this CreativePact, following a couple of months in the creative doldrums, I will be working to complete Prism Exhilarated, a unique media music release by ‑otron.

Prism Fission: epilogue

AJ Pact | Prism Fission | Prism Fission: epilogue

Yes, it's true. In the final post of the Prism Fission CreativePact I did say I would write a summary post within a week. And it's now December. What the hell happened??

Creativity is what. I have spent the two months since the end of the Pact keeping up momentum on the project, to the point where I can say: Prism Exhilarated will be released on December 8th at the ‑otron Bandcamp!

Like I said in the Pact's prologue, there was a lot to do to get this bird out. But the Pact got the flywheel turning and since October I have:

  • Finished the Python rendering software, so that it spits out track, tape side or full album renders where each track is positioned and normalised correctly.
  • Mastered every track on the album and prepared all the assets necessary for the Python software.
  • Finalised the releases's artwork.
  • Acquired 50 deep red cassettes, replete with aforementioned artwork.
  • Created all new audio to fill the gaps at the ends of the tape sides (see below for more on this...).
  • Uploaded the reference copy of the album to Bandcamp and 'Geometry4U' to SoundCloud.
  • Prepared the materials necessary for marketing (one sheet, various web and social media posts, etc.).
  • Completed the Soundary website, which is the vehicle I am promoting the "Prysm" unique duplication system through.

One glaring omission here is a whopper: dubbing of the cassettes. And the story goes:

He did buy a cassette machine from an auction, and lo! it was completely worthless.

So he did then buy a cassette machine from eBay, and lo! that machine's transport speed couldn't maintain a constant speed.

So he did then borrow a cassette machine, and lo! that machine failed during the dubbing process, and its resultant cassettes were lacking in top-end.

So he did buy another cassette machine from eBay, and lo! that machine is suffering from a number of issues, including not recording cassettes at the correct speed.

You get the idea. It seems that tape deck technology is so old that finding a machine in actual good working order is a huge challenge these days.

Also, in the list above I mentioned the gaps at the ends of the cassettes. This really annoyed me. When I ordered the tapes I sent my sides lengths accurate to the second. But, the suppliers added 3 minutes of blank space at the end of each side of every tape. That is 25% of the total side running time.

Given that such a gap is completely unacceptable in a professional release I contacted the supplier, but they refused to do anything about it. Given that cassette splicing certainly contains its own nightmares, I decided the best course was to fill the silences with additional audio.

In the end this filler audio was created using a pretty straightforward generative process, but it still added days to the production time and knocked back my release date.

Gripes aside, Prism Exhilarated is almost there. Back in July I feared that if I kept going with the unique duplication aspect of the release it might never release. Fortunately, CreativePact put the project back on track, and Prism Exhilarated will release as originally intended.